Six males were arrested after police raided a cannabis farm in a disused military bunker near the Wiltshire village of Chilmark.
The bunker, a hang over from the cold war tensions and designed to protect government officials in the case of a nuclear attack, was built in the 1980’s but is no longer owned by the Ministry of Defence.
Police, who had the site under surveillance, had to wait for three men to leave, detain them and use their keys to gain access due to the impenetrable nature of the complex. Once inside offices found a fully functioning cannabis farm with several thousand plants in various stages of growth.
Wiltshire Police say that it is the largest and most sophisticated cannabis factory they have encountered and the amount of bags of disused compost also present suggest that the site has been functioning as a farm for many months.
The three men detained outside the bunker are all from Somerset and aged, 27, 30 and 45 whilst three more males found inside were aged 15, 19 and 37, were of no fixed abode and thought to be living on the site and working as gardeners.
Detective Inspector Paul Franklin, of the Dedicated Crime Team, said: “There are approximately 20 rooms in the building, split over two floors, each 200ft long and 70 ft wide.
“Almost every single room had been converted for the wholesale production of cannabis plants, and there was a large amount of evidence of previous crops.
“This was an enormous set up.
“At this early stage of the investigation it is almost impossible to work out how many plants are inside, but we are talking thousands rather than hundreds and we would estimate the value of the crop at over £1 million.
“I am convinced it is one of the largest crops ever discovered in Wiltshire.
“The actions of officers last night took a large amount of planning and teamwork, and I am very pleased that it has been so successful.
“This is the largest and most sophisticated cannabis factory I’ve ever experienced and I am delighted that we have been able to take such a large amount of illicit drugs off the streets of Wiltshire before they are able to reach vulnerable people within our communities.”